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Cook Childrens(AMARILLO, Texas) -- A Texas mother burst into tears when she saw her 1-year-old daughter could hear sound for the first time.

The little girl was born unable to hear and doctors implanted a hearing device in May, but they did not activate it until this week.

Cook Children’s Hospital in Amarillo, Texas, released a video of the emotional moment when mother Anna Esler saw her daughter Ayla's reaction to having the cochlear implants turned on for the first time. The toddler is seen excitedly bopping up and down in her mother’s lap and touching her ear while her mother starts crying behind her.

“When I saw her happy and dancing and responding to sound for the first time in her life I just lost it because we’ve been waiting a long time for that,” Anna Esler told Fox 4 News.

Ayla’s father Will Esler said that they weren’t sure how they would react – or how Ayla would react.

“Like Anna, I was excited and scared and nervous and hopeful all at the same time,” Will Esler said in a statement provided to Cook Childrens Hospital. “I thought she would probably cry and scream when her CIs were activated—and she did do that later when it became overwhelming—but to see her hearing sound and enjoying it was just incredible.”

The moving scene took place on June 19, and it came after months of research into possible solutions.

“Being deaf isn’t bad, it’s just different, and so we had spent a lot of time preparing ourselves for what life would be like without Ayla hearing,” the couple said in the statement. “We had to let go of some things, like her knowing the sound of our voices, the sound of music, the sound of laughter. We had to prepare ourselves to see her enjoy those things in a different way, through the vibration of them, to ‘hear’ with her eyes.”

“When we found out that cochlear implants were an option for her, sound became a reality for her again, and we are so grateful for that,” they said.

Ayla had the four-hour implant surgery in late May, and audiologist Lisa Christensen said that doctors try to have patients receive the implants at as young an age as possible to avoid delays in speech development, language and learning.

“If we can make that happen right around six moth of age then those kids don’t show sign of speech, language or learning delayed,” Christensen told ABC News. “They can compete with all the other normally hearing peers.”

The journey isn’t over for Ayla, however, as all children that go through such an implant surgery will have to undergo specialized speech therapy called auditory therapy and their families are also trained to teach their kids to speak by talking through things instead of just taking actions.

“They spend a lot of time educating the family on talking to the child,” she said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Mary Jane Gacono suffers from dementia, but her husband and daughter have developed routines to try to help jog her fading memory.

"Mary will say, 'There's a picture, who's that? Who is that?' and it's one of our children," her husband, Carl Gacono, told ABC News. "She all of a sudden doesn't recognize some very close family members."

Carl, 88, and Mary Jane, 86, have been married nearly 70 years -- since 1950 -- and together have six children, 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Their daughter, Becky Gacono, 55, has spent time trying to help her mother remember the past, such as by reminding her of how she first met her husband. "Throwing a snowball," she told her mother.

"Oh yeah. Oh yes! Oh yes, yes," Mary Jane exclaimed.

Doctors suggested Carl come up with a routine to help stimulate his wife's memory. He reminds her daily of the same things so that she can more easily make associations.

"I always tell her she has two earrings, she has two necklaces, and she has a watch and a separate bracelet on there. So I say she has '2, 2, and 2,'" he explained. "Tomorrow she might say, 'Where’s my third necklace?' And I would say to her -- 'it’s 2, 2, 2. Remember?'"

Their daughter writes about her parents’ journey, sharing photos, updates and even a glimpse into what their life was like "BD," before dementia, as Becky details on a designated Facebook page, called "Our journey through our mom's dementia."

Becky said her parents and family have found truth in an age-old adage; laughter is the best medicine.

"We just noticed that, if we were happy, she was happier," Becky said. "She actually feels better when we’re enjoying each other -- she doesn’t know us by name anymore, and that’s OK. But she does know that we're people she loves and that's enough for all of us."

According to the Alzheimer's Association, 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, which is the most common form of dementia, and that number increases every year.

Despite any difficulties, Carl said he is still thankful every day for his time with Mary Jane.

"I wouldn’t trade the experience I’ve had taking care of my wife, OK. I’d like to think she wouldn’t trade the experience of having [and] taking care of me," he reasoned. "We’ve had a great relationship. We’ve known each other for 70 years. We’ve been married for 67, I’d marry her for another 67 tomorrow."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(ATLANTA) -- A Georgia doctor, whose medical license was suspended after she was accused by patients of recording music videos during surgeries without their consent, says she was “safe” and the patients in her videos had agreed to participate.

“The videos were pre-consented, staged, and done at a safe interval,” Dr. Windell Davis-Boutte told ABC News in an exclusive interview. “Many [of the videos], most of them [were recorded] after the fact, during recovery, which was planned by me and the patient. So I would like everyone to understand that.”

Watch the full interview on "Good Morning America" FRIDAY, June 22 at 7 a.m. ET.

The state medical board suspended Davis-Boutte's license this month after it said the board-certified dermatologist’s actions were "a threat to the public health, safety and welfare," according to ABC News' Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV.

The state medical board suspended Davis-Boutte's license this month after it said the board-certified dermatologist’s actions were "a threat to the public health, safety and welfare," according to ABC News' Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV.

In multiple videos obtained by ABC News, Davis-Boutte and her staff could be seen singing and dancing as she operates on patients. The videos were posted to YouTube but have since been deleted.

As a physician in the state of Georgia, Davis-Boutte had been allowed to perform surgeries in her office-based setting.

Davis-Boutte is being sued by several patients who allege that their liposuctions and lifts went terribly wrong, according to WSB-TV. In her interview with ABC News, she declined to comment on specifics regarding lawsuits.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Another disease to blame on mosquitos, in addition to Zika, dengue, chikungunya? The list of viruses infecting humans through pesky mosquito bites continues to increase: Keystone virus has joined the ranks.

What is Keystone virus? It’s from a family of viruses known as the Bunyaviridae group. These viruses have been associated with encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that can be fatal.

Where does it come from? The virus was first isolated in 1964 in samples from mosquitoes in Keystone, Florida. Little is known about it, except that is has been found in animals like white-tailed deer, raccoons, and squirrels. Though it was discovered in Florida, the virus has been found in coastal regions as far away as Texas.

How does it make people sick? A recent case report described a boy with signs and symptoms of an infection; he had Keystone virus in his tissue samples. Until then, it has not been known to make humans sick. It’s not the first infection, since people who live in an area where the mosquito and virus are more prevalent have been found to have antibodies against the virus in their blood. That means people have been exposed to and infected with the virus, but no one seems to have previously reported getting sick from it. And no live virus had been found in humans until now. The virus is spread by Aedes atlanticus, a mosquito common in Florida and similar to Aedes aegypti, a mosquito known to spread viruses like dengue, Zika, and chikungunya.

How does a person know if they have it? Experts agree it most likely has some nonspecific signs and symptoms that are similar to other viral infections. The patient in the first reported human case had a fever and rash, which are common in viral infections. More research is warranted to see if there are any unique features of this disease in humans. Further details are unknown, but it is not currently viewed as life-threatening.

How is it treated and tested? There is no current test, vaccine, or antiviral treatment for the virus. Further details about its transmission, who is at risk of getting it, its short and long-term effects on humans, and its severity still need to be further studied.

How is it prevented? If you can’t fight the virus, fight the bite. It’s recommended, especially this summer, to prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellent, staying in air-conditioned areas, wearing long-sleeved, loose-fitting clothes when outside, and using insect screens in windows, dormers, and vents. Communities should also continue mosquito control programs to prevent breeding and to kill mosquitoes.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago resident has been confirmed as the first person in Illinois this year to have contracted mosquito-borne West Nile virus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The woman, who is in her 60s, contracted the virus and become sick in mid-May, IDPH reported Wednesday. The agency is urging residents to be aware of their surroundings and take preventative measures.

"West Nile virus can cause serious illness in some people so it’s important that you take precautions like wearing insect repellent and getting rid of stagnant water around your home," Dr. Nirav D. Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said in a statement.

MORE: Confirmed 2018 West Nile Virus cases: What to know about the mosquito-borne disease

No vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for West Nile virus exists, and people with weak immune systems, health conditions, and people older than 60 could be at higher risk for severe illness if they contract the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In mid-June, the California Department of Public Health announced its first West Nile virus cases.

These first cases of West Nile virus are earlier than those of the first reported cases in 2017.

In 2017, the first human case of West Nile was reported just over a month later, on July 20.

California public health officials have said they believe the cases will increase and precautions remain important.

"West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so I urge Californians to take every possible precaution to protect against mosquito bites," said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith.

There were 2,002 reported cases of West Nile Virus and 121 deaths across the U.S. in 2017, according to the CDC.

Even though the virus was found in 47 states and the District of Columbia in 2017, the highest number of cases and deaths were reported in California, Texas and Arizona, according to CDC data.

Illinois ranked fourth, followed by South Dakota, Nebraska, Mississippi, Utah and New York respectively.

The virus is passed on through the bites of Culex Pipiens mosquitoes, also known as house mosquitoes, IDPH said. After the virus is transmitted, one out of five people infected could experience symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, headache and nausea for a few weeks or months. In rare severe case, the symptoms are meningitis, encephalitis or death, according to IDPH.

Mosquitoes become infected with the West Nile Virus by biting birds that may have contracted the virus, according to CDC.

West Nile virus was first detected in the U.S. in 1999.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A government study found that chemicals found in drinking water around the country could pose risks to human health at lower levels than the government currently recognizes, potentially opening the door for more states to begin cleaning up or regulating the chemical.

The report released Wednesday by a branch of Health and Human Services examined a category of chemicals commonly called PFAS that have been used to make non-stick products, firefighting foam and water-repellant coatings.

They've been found in water systems and soil around the country. The most researched types of these chemicals are referred to as PFOA and PFOS, both of which remain in the environment for a long time after they're introduced, raising concerns about the health effects to people living near areas contaminated by the chemicals.

The report found that PFOA and PFOS caused negative health effects in rodents at a lower equivalent level in humans than previously recognized by the EPA. The finding could cause a ripple effect, possibly requiring new rules or laws as states work on cleaning up areas with high levels of the chemicals.

The study reported that the EPA's advisory level of 70 parts per trillion is seven to 10 times higher than when HHS first said it noticed health effects in animals.

The agency that evaluates potentially toxic chemicals also said that drinking fluids or eating food contaminated with the chemicals could potentially increase the risk of cancer, interfere with hormones and the immune system, and affect growth and development of children and infants. But, overall, more research is needed to understand the impacts of all types of chemicals in the PFAS category on human health.

The study did not specifically recommend a new level that is safe for humans, but advocacy groups working on this issue said the new data show states and the federal government should act to clean up the chemicals.

"This study confirms that the EPA’s guidelines for PFAS levels in drinking water woefully underestimate risks to human health," Olga Naidenko, senior science advisor at the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement. "We urge EPA to collect and publish all water results showing PFAS contamination at any level, so Americans across the country can take immediate steps to protect themselves and their families."

The Environmental Working Group has estimated that drinking water for 16 million Americans has levels of the chemicals higher than the EPA's recommended limit and that some amount of it has been found in more than 1,500 water systems serving more than 110 million people.

The study was the center of a controversy earlier this year after Politico reported that officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, Pentagon and White House talked about delaying the public release of the report, writing in an email that it would be a "public relations nightmare." Those emails were obtained by the Union of Concerned Scientists through a public records request.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced in May that the EPA will move to label PFAS chemicals "hazardous" and will look into a maximum level at which the chemicals are safe and provide recommendations to states looking to clean up contaminated sites. The agency held a summit with state officials that generated further controversy after reporters and a member of Congress reported they weren't allowed to attend some of the sessions.

Dealing with PFAS "is one of EPA's top priorities, and the agency is committed to continuing to participate in and contribute to a coordinated approach across the federal government," the director of the agency's water office, Peter Grevatt, said in a statement. "Federal agencies are developing a variety of tools, including toxicity values, analytical methods and treatment options, that can work together to provide states, tribes, local governments, health professionals and communities with information and solutions to address these chemicals."

Michigan is one state that has been testing for PFAS substances in water systems. The director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said at the EPA summit that the only reason her state has found so much PFAS contamination is that the state is "actively and aggressively looking," according to

An official with Michigan's environmental agency said the state is pleased the report was released and wants EPA to work with state and local governments to set standards for PFAS.

In one site near the airport in Grand Rapids, officials have identified levels of PFAS chemicals in wells between 54 and 461 parts per trillion. The state has also been working with the EPA to test a site of a former tannery where very high levels of PFOS were found in the groundwater.

Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee represents Flint, Michigan, and called for the federal government to release the Centers for Disease Control and Protection study earlier and take more action to limit exposure to the chemicals.

"This federal study is deeply concerning because it demonstrates that PFAS chemicals are more dangerous to human health than the EPA has previously acknowledged. The Trump administration must address PFAS contamination with more urgency. We must ensure that families and veterans exposed to these dangerous chemicals receive the health care and clean-up resources they need," Kildee said in a statement.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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TongRo Images/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Whether you're laid-back or energetic, there’s a workout fit for your personality.

"No matter your personality type, there is a workout for you, so no excuses," Dr. Tania Elliott, a New York-based allergist and preventive health expert at EHE, told Good Morning America.

"There are various things you can do with your doctor to talk about your everyday life to keep you living and keep you happy and healthy every day," Elliott said. "We focus on what you think, how you move and how you eat.”

Elliott -- along with celebrity fitness trainer Amanda Kloots, the creator behind explosive workouts such as The Rope, The Dance and The Body -- shared workout routines designed for different personalities with Good Morning America.

Kloots' signature workout classes target and tone using high-energy movements, fast-paced cardio intervals and jump rope.

"In order to be successful, we want to make sure that whatever physical activity you choose, it's consistent with your personality type and what you like to do," Elliott said.

Read on to find out the ideal workout based on your personality traits.

If your personality is energetic and spontaneous

“Variability is key,” Elliott said. “You want to increase your cardiovascular activity, get that movement going, interchange it with some stretches and put it together in a routine.”

  • 16 jumping jacks
  • 8 alternating leg lunges
  • 8 alternating leg lunges touching the floor

If your personality is peaceful and caring

“Some of these moves are better to do in the morning to help us stretch, get our energy levels going. And some of these moves are better to do in the evening to release stress and help increase your inner zen and flow,” Elliott said.

  • Arm circles with arms out in a T position
  • Circle forward for 8
  • Circle backward for 8
  • Sit back, leg extensions for 8

If your personality is mentally tough and determined

For people who like to set goals and beat them, this is for you.

  • Jump rope for 1 min
  • Hold plank for 1 min
  • Three sets

“Get an exercise buddy, go head to head, see who can hold the plank the longest,” Elliott said.

If your personality is cool, calm and collected

If you have this personality type, you are going to respond to the mood of the room.

“It’s all about the music and the vibe,” Elliott said

  • Standing arms with the rope
  • Side bends with the rope

Kloots and Elliott recommend using a jump rope as an exercise tool because it will “help you use your own body muscles to maintain the flow and your body strength resistance through the course of the workout.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As the school year winds down, opioid prevention in schools are trending up.

One in 7 high school students in America reported they'd misused prescription opioids, like hydrocodone, in the past year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Ashland, Kentucky a community of just over 21,000 people along the southern bank of the Ohio River, the epidemic has hit a fever pitch.

Boyd County, where Ashland is located, saw 39 opioid-related deaths in 2017, which was an increase from 30 deaths in 2016, according to the local paper The Daily Independent.

In one year, local elementary schools found a total of 18 needles in their playgrounds.

To combat the epidemic, students from Ashland Middle School came up with a device to keep people safe from syringes discarded on the ground.

They designed a working prototype to safely pick up and dispose of syringes and created a database to alert the public where the syringes were found.

"We really noticed that this was a big problem in our community and our resource officer came to us and asked if we could figure out a solution," Isaac Crawford, an eighth-grader at Ashland Middle School and one of the 19 students who worked on creating the device, told ABC News.

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., the students showcased their device to lawmakers in COngress. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, from their home state of Kentucky, called it "inspirational."

The Ashland police chief saw the prototype and wants it in the hands of every officer "as soon as possible," Crawford said.

The students won a nationwide contest sponsored on by Samsung - which supplied the 3D printing technology to create the prototype.

The database locates where needles were found and then reports them to police and vice versa. The hope is that they can eventually turn it over fully to the police department.

The Naloxone Approach in Schools

As the opioid crisis hits America hard, states have taken a new approach to keeping students safe: putting naloxone in schools, training counselors on how to approach the opioid crisis, and taking a students first approach to education and understanding of the problem.

“We need to get [naloxone] out there, it needs to be available in places," Jon DeLena DEA Associate Special Agent in Charge for New England told ABC News. "The amount of lives it has saved is staggering.”

Maryland Rhode Island have passed laws requiring schools to carry naloxone.

“Given the scope of the opioid epidemic in our area right now, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that any high school or middle school could have a student on campus who experiences an overdose," said Rhode Island state Sen. Gayle Goldin in a news release. "Every second matters."

Other states like Ohio and New Hampshire leave it up to the individual districts to decide whether to put naloxone in schools or not.

Dublin City Schools in Dublin, Ohio, with 17,000 students and 20 buildings, has had naloxone in all of its schools since 2016 in order to be "proactive and prepared."

The thought is to have school nurses be able to administer the antidote similarly to an EpiPen. It is something the National Association of School Nurses support.

"There's no downside to having it," Tracey Miller, the deputy superintendent of Dublin City Schools, told ABC News. "Only an upside."

DeLena said having naloxone in schools, at first, he was taken aback by it, but realized it was forward thinking.

"It isn't so much they are worried about a student overdosing, they're worried about someone else on campus overdosing. Whether that's God forbid a teacher, parent at parent pickup or at a game. It could be anybody," he said. "We know this thing is so wide spread, the more I though about it, it's forward leaning and the schools are trying to get ahead of it."

An early start – focusing on youth.

In New Hampshire, a state some consider ground zero for the opioid crisis, the Drug Enforcement Agency and community leaders are working with students to help combat the opioid crisis.

"Everything we've been doing in New Hampshire has been youth-focused because of the opioid crisis," DeLena said.

DeLena, with the help of the Recovery Centers of America and the Mark Whalberg Youth Foundation, put on the New Hampshire Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness - the first event of its kind. The event drew so much attention that Attorney General Jeff Sessions flew in to speak and a former MLB pitcher spoke about his addiction and recovery.

The response from students in attendance was positive.

"They said, 'We want to be a part of the solution. Don't just tell us not to do drugs - explain to us whats going on with it and listen to us,'" DeLena told ABC News.

DeLena recalled the first time he asked the question what the biggest problem in New Hampshire was and the response from one fourth grader made his knees buckle.

"Heroin," that student said.

By getting kids involved in the discussion, DeLena thinks its the best shot to help the country overcome the opioid epidemic.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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WLS-TV(CHICAGO) -- The Chicago Fire Department is investigating why paramedics mistakenly thought a teenager who was shot in the head was dead and left his body lying in the street covered in a sheet until bystanders saw his arms and legs twitching.

Paramedics left Erin Carey, 17, unattended next to a gutter as they treated other victims in the shooting early Monday in the University Village area of Chicago. Once the paramedics were told the teenager was still breathing, they began cardiopulmonary resuscitation and rushed him to a local hospital, officials said.

He died at 1:19 a.m. Tuesday, about 20 hours after he was shot twice in the head, officials said.

"I do understand that paramedics looked at him, believed him to be deceased, covered him with that sheet and moved on to another individual who was nearby who was also shot. They saw motion, movement underneath the sheet. Officers who were present notified paramedics, this man is still alive," Chicago Police First Deputy Anthony Riccio said at a press conference.

Officials did not release the names of the paramedics or say how many were at the scene.

It was not immediately clear how long Carey was lying in the street before paramedics realized he was still alive. The Chicago Tribune reported he was in the street under a sheet for an hour before bystanders saw his arms and legs, which were exposed, twitching.

Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said his department is investigating how it came to be that paramedics initially thought Carey was dead.

"We're trying to piece everything together," Santiago told ABC station WLS-TV. "We're looking at the computers where they put down all that information. Paramedics put down that information."

Carey's family members are expected to hold a news conference on Wednesday.

The teen was at a party in the University Village neighborhood when two cars began to circle him and other revelers and numerous shots rang out about 4:50 a.m. Monday, according to officials.

Carey was one of six people shot. One other victim, a 22-year-old woman, was also killed in the shooting and four men were injured, police said.

Carey recently graduated from Evanston Township High in Evanston, Illinois, where he played on the football team. He also played for the Chicago Jokers in a youth football league, said Eric McClendon, who coaches the team.

"I'm heartbroken because this is a player that I personally knew. A player that I had to pick up and bring to practice," McClendon told WLS-TV.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Summer is upon us, which means it's time to hit your local farmers market for the freshest seasonal ingredients.

seasonal food not only tastes amazing, but it helps build a sustainable food system, supports local farmers and enhances recipes because you're using layers of flavors have been picked at their peak.

Summer is synonymous with an abundance of fresh veggies that are perfect to toss on a hot grill or swap some peaches for something sweet.

New York City-based pastry chef Jessica Weiss of Marta, Maialino and Caffe Marchio finds much of her inspiration for desserts, pastries and bread from the produce offered at the Union Square Greenmarket.

GrowNYC, the educational and environmental program behind the Greenmarket, said their network of farmers ensures access to the freshest, healthiest local food and "just-picked" produce.

"The advantages of eating seasonal and locally sourced produce are huge," a spokesperson for GrowNYC told ABC News. "First off, your food is grown close to where you live, so it doesn’t have to travel long distances to get to your table or picnic basket. It’s fresh and delicious, and not distressed from a cross-country trip. This lack of travel - and related greenhouse gas emissions -- is immensely important to environmental sustainability."

"Another perk of eating local food is that it helps keep regional farmers on their land so that land doesn’t end up being sold for development. It’s a win-win," they said.

Here's a full list of what's in season during the peak summer months:

Arugula (June, July, August)
Asparagus (June)
Beets, beet greens (June, July, August)
Blueberries (July, August)
Broccoli (June, July, August)
Cabbage (June, July, August)
Carrots (August)
Chard (June, July, August)
Cherries (June, July)
Chili peppers (June, July, August)
Chives (June, July, August)
Currants (June, July, August)
Garlic, garlic scapes (June, July)
Green onions (June, July, August)
Herbs (basil, cilantro, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sorrel)
Kohlrabi (June, July)
Lettuce (June, July, August)
Melons (July, August)
Mesclun (June, July, August)
Peas (July, August)
Radishes (June, July, August)
Rhubarb (June, July)
Scallions (June, July, August)
Spinach (June, July, August)
Strawberries (June, July)
Summer squash (June, July, August)
Tomatoes (July, August)
Turnip greens (June, July, August)
Watercress (June, July)
Zucchini (June, July, August)

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stress may not just affect the mind, but may actually affect the physical immune system, a new study found.

Everyone will experience a significant life stressor at some point in their lives, such as loss of a loved one, or exposure to violence. While most people exposed to hardships gradually recover, a significant percentage develop severe psychiatric reactions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress reactions or adjustment disorder.

But the study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association asked: Do psychiatric reactions to life stressors result in the physical dysfunction of the immune system?

Autoimmune disorders like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis are conditions where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body, incorrectly sensing foreign invaders. The causes of autoimmune diseases are largely unknown, but genetic, infectious and environmental factors are thought to play a role. These immune diseases strike even the young, who haven’t experienced the stressors noted in this study.

To assess whether there was a connection between stressors and these autoimmune disorders, researchers from the University of Iceland looked at the medical records of 100,000 people with stress-related psychiatric disorders between 1981 and 2013 in Sweden and compared them to 120,000 of their siblings and nearly 1.1 million unrelated people who had no stress-related disorders. People with a stress-related psychiatric disorder in the study were, on average, diagnosed at age 41 and 40 percent were male.

Compared to those without stress-related disorders, they were at an increased risk of 41 different autoimmune diseases -- and patients with PTSD were at an increased risk of having multiple autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and celiac disease.

The risk for all autoimmune diseases may not be equal: This study found a higher risk for celiac disease and lower for rheumatoid arthritis.

For patients with PTSD, taking antidepressant medications that block serotonin (SSRIs) was associated with a decreased risk of autoimmune disease, which "strengthens the evidence for the potential causal link between stress-related disorder and subsequent autoimmune diseases," lead author Dr. Huan Song told ABC News.

Previous studies have also shown a link between Vietnam War veterans with PTSD and a higher occurrence of autoimmune diseases. But more research is needed to understand why.

“We need more studies to inform the potential underlying mechanism behind the association," Song said, "for example exploring potential genetic and early environmental contributors and the effect of alternations in health-related behavior."

Overall, this study's findings suggest that stress can impair the body’s immune system, according to the researchers, and further research and in more places could help.

One explanation could be that a major life stressor can cause severe lifestyle changes like less sleep, more smoking and alcohol or substance abuse, less exercise and worse diet. In turn, those may contribute to the development of autoimmune disease.

This study was limited in a few ways. Autoimmune diseases may be underrepresented, because less severe autoimmune conditions managed by primary care doctors were not included in this study. This study was also done in Sweden and may not be applicable to other populations. In addition, it is a study of what researchers observed and they may not have known some of the natural differences that could explain the study findings.

The findings show an association between stressors and the immune system, but not that the psychiatric stressors caused the immune problems.

"The under-diagnosis and under-treatment of these studied stress-related disorders have been an issue discussed for many years," Song said. "Based on our results, patients suffering from severe emotional reactions after trauma, or other life stressors, should seek medical care to reduce their symptom burden and thereby also potentially reduce their future risk of further health decline."

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Nichole Brooks(DALLAS) -- A mom who made the decision to shave her toddler's head as he undergoes chemotherapy for cancer treatment shared her powerful photos to Facebook.

And though it was a difficult process, Nichole Brooks took great comfort in what happened when her 2.5-year-old son Wyatt looked in the mirror and saw himself hairless for the first time.

Wyatt, who communicates primarily though sign language, signed the word, "Beautiful."

"We knew from the beginning we would shave Wyatt's hair before chemo took it away," Brooks told "Good Morning America." The doctors told us hair loss usually begins by week two. On day six of treatment I found small amounts of hair on his pillow. I knew it was time."

On June 2, the Brooks family -- Nichole, her husband Colin, their two daughters and Wyatt were at the beach. When they arrived home that day, Brooks said she "noticed Wyatt had a full-body rash, random and unexplainable bruises and his eyes were very bloodshot."

After a series of tests in the emergency room that day, leukemia was the diagnosis. Wyatt is now being treated at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.

It was last week that Wyatt had his haircut. Brooks arranged for a nurse to do the cut in his room.

"Wyatt sat on my lap and we were in a sheet to catch the hair as it fell," she said. "He has never liked haircuts and this was no exception. I cuddled and kissed his cheeks. We both cried but as soon as the clippers were turned off he looked up at me and smiled."

It was then that Wyatt looked in the mirror and told his mother he was "beautiful." It's a word, his mom said, that he often uses to describe himself and others.

Daily lab tests show the chemo is "doing it's job," Brooks said. But as a result, the toddler has lost his ability to walk and stand because of pain and muscle weakness.

Still, his mom called the prognosis "promising." Children with Down syndrome, which Wyatt has, tend to respond very well to chemotherapy, his mom said.

"Looking too far ahead is overwhelming and scary so we choose to soak up every hug, every kiss and every cuddle while supporting him through each test, medication and therapy."

The decision to shave Wyatt's head gave the family power in a situation where there is very little.

"For us, shaving his head meant we had control over something that would inevitably happen on its own. We decided cancer would not take his hair away, instead we would shave it as an act of courage and bravery. The baldness is now part of his armor. He is a warrior ready for battle."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you need another reason to avoid parties, consider this finding from the U.K. show Food Unwrapped: you can get a nasty stomach bug, and even herpes, from party dip.

While the scourge of double-dipping came to the fore thanks to that famous Seinfeld moment, scientists on Food Unwrapped noted that norovirus -- which can give you projectile vomiting and uncontrollable diarrhea -- can lurk in your favorite dips, as well as the nasty streptococcus bug, and yes, even herpes simplex.

Meaning thanks to the trace amounts of an infected person's saliva in the dip -- thanks to nasty double-dippers -- you can leave the party with the start of strep throat and even a cold sore.

What's more, the runnier the dip, the more chance the bacteria have to spread, reports the Daily Mail, which recapped the Food Unwrapped episode. For this reason, sour cream fared the worse in the show's tests, especially when left unrefrigerated, which allows bacteria to multiply.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With the shocking deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain still fresh in our minds and dramatic new statistics showing suicides on the rise, we’re all grappling with how pervasive and devastating suicide is.

Around 1.4 million in the United States alone are estimated to attempt suicide every year. Someone in your life could be struggling right now and you may not even realize it, experts say.

Behind the statistics of suicide are real people, survivors, who struggled in their darkest days and was able to break through, emerging with a story of resiliency and hope.

“They’ve been there and they’ve made it out alive,” said Stacey Freedenthal, a psychotherapist and educator in Denver who is a suicide attempt survivor.

“They are people who were on the edge of death and then go on and continue living,” she said. “I find that very hopeful.”

Anyone in crisis, or who knows someone in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

Here are four people from across the country who shared with "Good Morning America" their personal journeys to shed light on the darkness.

At a career high, woman who seemingly had it all thought about suicide 'constantly'

Kelechi Ubozoh, 32-year-old from Oakland, California

When we lose people who seemingly have everything, it can be very scary. I know first-hand that appearances can be deceiving.

Right before my suicide attempt, I looked like I had it all. A job in my field, a good relationship, and the first undergraduate published in The New York Times. I also thought about killing myself constantly.

Why didn’t I reach out to anyone? Well, the truth is that I had. I quietly tried to share that I was struggling, but instead of help, I was told that I was selfish, being dramatic, and needed to pray. None of these messages was helpful. I felt like a burden and learned to hide my pain and pretend. After a sexual assault, the years of stuffing down my feelings eventually erupted into a suicide attempt.

Healing looks different for everyone, but for me it was connecting with the feelings I had avoided, developing boundaries, trauma-informed therapy, mental health advocacy, and removing toxic people from my life. I’ve built a safety net of family and friends to catch me when I fall.

When someone is physically sick, we know exactly what to do. We bring casseroles, send flowers and cards, and think about what someone who is in pain needs. I don’t think it should be any different for folks who are feeling suicidal. Personally, I need connection and to interrupt the isolation and negative thoughts in my head.

So, please be good to each other. Check on your strong friends who have it together, and your friends who are “too busy” and disappeared. If we can create a world where the stigma of suicide is decreased so people speak out when they are in pain, maybe we can prevent anyone else from dying.

12 years later, suicidal thoughts remain but response is different

Dese'Rae L. Stage, 35-year-old from Philadelphia

I lost a friend to suicide for the first time when I was 15. I was already having suicidal thoughts, but losing Bryan took my abstract suffering and made suicide suddenly very real to me.

Over the next few years, I continued to struggle with those thoughts, and with self-injury, both anchored down by a deep depression. I questioned my sexuality and I was outed against my will.

I went away to college and failed my first semester. That was the first time anyone suggested that I might need to see a doctor. Prior to that, what I was feeling was labeled “teenage angst,” and I was told to get over it. This began a years-long journey with therapists, psychiatrists, and medications —- none of which worked -- and I had a hard time staying the course.

When I was 23, at the end of an emotionally and physically abusive relationship, after two years of being deeply suicidal, I tried to take my life. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I was codependent and couldn’t tear myself away from this relationship that was so terrible for me. I was convinced I was crazy, and a burden, and that everyone hated me. I couldn’t feel anything but hurt, like I was burning from the inside out. I couldn’t see a future for myself, even though I’d just been accepted to a Ph.D. program.

Ending it seemed like the only way to make the pain stop.

This month will be 12 years since my suicide attempt. I created a career I love out of thin air. I have an incredible wife and a new son. We own a house on a block we love. I have a wonderful therapist and feel more mentally healthy than I ever have.

And I still struggle with suicidal thoughts. The difference now is that I have better coping skills, I have an amazing support system, and I know how to ask for help when I need it.

Deep depression leads to teenage suicide attempt

Kelley Clink, 38-year-old from Chicago

I was sixteen when I attempted suicide.

I’d fallen into a deep depression after moving across the country with my family, and there was a voice in my head telling me I was worthless.

It said no one loved me. That I was weak. Sick. Broken. Wrong. It said I didn’t belong. That I had nothing to give. It told me I was a burden on the people I loved. That my sick, weak, broken self was infecting everyone else. Ruining their lives. It said nothing would ever get better. And it was so loud I couldn’t hear anything else.

I’d love to tell you that a hospital stay, some medication, and a couple therapy sessions silenced the voice, but that wouldn’t be true. I did all those things, of course, and more.

And slowly, over many years, things did get better. I got better. I danced with my friends. I sang karaoke. I swam in two oceans. I learned Spanish (and forgot it). I learned the guitar (and forgot that, too.) I earned a master’s degree. I got married. I had children. I built a life that I love. One I want to keep living.

And yet, over 20 years later, even after the death of my only sibling by suicide, even after the births of my two beautiful kids, I still hear that voice sometimes.

It’s not nearly as loud or as frequent, but it’s still there. I think it always will be. I don’t try to silence it, anymore. I know that what it says isn’t true. I try to sit with it. I try to find the feeling underneath the words. Is it loneliness? Exhaustion? Fear?

I try to hold it, gently, like a bird with broken wings. I listen, and then I let it go.

Learning to give a voice to pain after a suicide attempt

A.P. Looze, 28-year-old from Minnesota

The agony of desiring to die is an ineffable sensation. No matter how many friends I had, or how successful I was in work and school, the shadow of wanting to kill myself loomed over me.

I lost all capacity to take care of myself, and felt completely alone. I had come to a point where I believed I held no capacity to find joy or meaning in life, so I attempted to kill myself.

As time has passed, and as I have faced depressed and nihilistic sensations akin to the ones that lead to my attempt eight years ago, I have come to understand that there is nothing wrong or bad about wanting to die.

This is a sensation that happens, often triggered by immediate stressors, and/or deep wounding that one cannot find language to explain. It is one of the most difficult sensations to cope with.

We live in a culture that does not actively honor our pain and suffering, nor gives us adequate space and connection with others to heal from and make sense of trauma, which is something every single human experiences just by way of living.

Since my attempt, I realized I had to learn how to give myself and others love, light, softness and care. I have made a conscious effort to give voice to my pain and my struggles -- in therapy and with friends -- and through that I have learned I am not alone.

We all suffer. It is a fact of life. We need to love and care for each other and ourselves through it.

I have learned how to not feel ashamed of having attempted suicide. I talk about it openly and candidly in an effort to reduce stigma.

When the going gets rough, and if thoughts of suicide do not subside quickly, I ask for help. I talk to people I trust. I go to the psych ward if I need to. I remind myself that my life is not mine to take. I remind myself that the feeling will pass, just as every feeling does.

To read more stories of suicide attempt survivors, visit

Anyone in crisis, or who knows someone in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741. You can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada) and The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.

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ABC News(CLARKE COUNTY, VA.) -- Scientists and officials on the East Coast are working to locate invasive plants known as giant hogweed that can cause third-degree burns and even permanent blindness to those who come in contact, after Virginia residents reported discovering the noxious plants in their yards.

Giant hogweed looks very similar to the common native species cow parsnip, but if the hogweed's sap touches the skin it can cause chronic, burning pain that can last several weeks, according to experts at Virginia Tech University's Massey Herbarium.

“Once you get the sap on your skin, and you are exposed to the sunlight, the chemical is activated [and] it can cause a severe burn,” Massey Herbarium curator Jordan Metzgar told ABC News.

Giant hogweed and cow parsnip have “similar flowers and leaves" and cow parsnip's "sap can cause [a] reaction, but usually it is not as bad as hogweed,” he added.

Hogweed was first planted about 30 or 40 years ago, Metzger said.

The first plants reported last week were part of a home garden and had been on the property for forty years, according to Kevin Heffernan, a stewardship biologist at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

“It is not escaped and naturalized in our landscape,” Mr. Heffernan told ABC. “However, in this instance, it was a cultivated planting, not a wild population. This is a very important distinction.”

Giant hogweed is listed in Virginia by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) as a "noxious weed,’ and by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) as “an early detection invasive plant,” which means it is not yet entrenched in Virginia, Heffernan said.

"If we find it the goal is to eradicate it before it becomes established,” he told ABC News.

The plants that were discovered in Clarke County last week are being removed by VDACS.

The group has identified about 30 toxic hogweed plants in Virginia so far.

“A species will continue to be listed as "early detection" until it is shown to be permanently established and beyond the scope of a feasible eradication program,” DCR wrote on its website. “Further, if a species is successfully eradicated, it will likely remain on the early detection list to encourage ongoing vigilance.”

Metzgar said that if anyone makes contact with giant hogweed, the victim should wash the sap off of the skin with cold water and soap. Victims would needs a few weeks to recover from the burn, and their skin would remain sensitive to sunlight.

“No one knew about this plant before," Metzger said. "Sounds like they actually planted it about 30 or 40 years ago as a decorative species, but nobody knew they were there until just now.”

Metzgar said that his department has been talking to the press to spread the news of the danger that can be caused by giant hogweed.

“Since last Wednesday, I have been responding to email and phone messages from concerned citizens," he said. "I am sharing with them the information I have shared with you,” Heffernan said.

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has also published a guide on “how to control giant hogweed,” on its website.

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